Lucinda: Mistress to the Mob
Official website of the in-work novel…..
Every story starts somewhere—even if it’s only a pure fabrication of the story-teller. Lucinda’s story is no different, but how this came to be even amazes me, sometimes.
I always considered myself to be a tough, hard-nosed, logical thinking individual. I was running another man’s business for him before I reached the age of 20. I came from a very scientific background (my father an engineer, my mother a scientist) and learned early that logic was the most important factor to consider before ever choosing or doing anything.
I found that that thinking was not always correct. Lucinda taught me that feelings (and emotions) should sometimes carry equal weight.
Obviously, Lucinda didn’t begin with the current (12th) draft. The story did not always contain a Preface plus 44 chapters. The account was not always in excess of 400 pages. It started with a simple question from a friend, and then mushroomed.
So, let’s go backwards through the evolution of this project.
The actual writing began in the summer of 2004. Most of the work was done using my laptop on the patio. The initial draft was completed, working only on evenings and weekends when weather would allow, in under 30 days! This was unbelievable to me—seeing as I saw myself as being overly logical, and lacking in creativity. Writing was never my strong suit in school, so pounding out 30 chapters (the length of draft 1) of fiction in under a month was simply astonishing!
But I had a lot of help. There were many days that I would bring my laptop back into the house, only to have my wife ask, “What did you write today?” I often answered, “I don’t know. I will have to read it.” On those days she told me that my fingers were flying around the keyboard while I was outside. I could only reply that I felt like I was only taking dictation. The words came, and I just typed them in.
Those episodes followed my hesitation to begin the work, at all! When something inside me was telling me to begin writing, I argued that there were too many holes in the story. There was no way I could begin working on such a project until I knew all the details of what happened and when and how they happened. Despite my internal protestations, I buckled down and started—hoping that the details would come when I needed them.
One of the holes that I recall was that I knew Lucinda moved from New York to Chicago, and that she did so in 1920. I also knew that the evening I had seen at Times Square had something to do with it, but I had no idea how it all came down. When I reached that part of the writing, the events just flowed through my fingers—enlightening me at the same time.
Another remarkable occurrence while writing the first draft, was Chapter 18—which is still my favorite. I was working off of my own hand-written outline, and felt I knew where things should go—at least until Chapter 18 reared its head. That evening I went out to get a little writing in before guests arrived at our house. My fingers flew through about three pages of material, and then something inside told me to “STOP RIGHT HERE! “But, the outline says I need to continue,” I argued with myself. But the feeling still said to stop.
Not understanding why, I asked my wife to come out and read it. She loved it. Then the same thing with our son. Still believing you couldn’t have a 3 page chapter, I went to the big guns. Our daughter (who was almost 19 at the time) is a very artsy, creative sort of soul. She draws, paints, writes, and several other things. She also hates the 1920s and was “sick to death of hearing about Lucinda.” I figured she would be a very unbiased reviewer.
I will edit her remarks for this publication. After reading the short piece of the book, she turned around, looked me in the eye and said “Don’t change one f***ing word!” I knew then that I had something.
Once the first draft was finished, I began reading it. The second, third and fourth drafts followed by October of that same year—each one adding details of things or events that were missing from the previous draft. At that point, I distributed about a dozen copies to friends and family to critique.
Then it was back to the grindstone and churning out drafts 5, 6, 7 and 8. By then it was early 2006 and life stepped back into the picture. All work ceased until the fall of 2007. It was at that series of writing sessions that ten additional chapters were written, and the ending was changed.
So, where did this story come from? Wasn’t that the question I started out to answer? It all started with the curiosity of a friend.
In the summer of 2003, while visiting in the home of a friend, another friend of ours asked me a question. I am purposely not using anyone’s names, here, so bear with me. Anyway, he was a professional Hypnotherapist. Out of the blue he asked if he could take me into the next room and hypnotize me. He said he wanted to do a past life regression with me—for his education and entertainment. His reasoning was that I had always had a fascination with the 1920s and that when I was a teenager I had been enthralled with the bank robber John Dillinger. He wanted to find out if maybe I had been John Dillinger, or possibly knew him in a past life.
Always game for new experiences, I agreed. The first thing I saw during that session was Times Square at night. The year was 1920. I had many vivid scenes and feelings come to me during that evening’s session.
The next couple of weeks produced more images, sounds and feelings from that same era. I could recognize the feeling of that time, but had no idea what most of the things were that were coming to me. It was all in bits and pieces, and usually very disjointed.
After about two weeks, my logical side kicked back in. I surmised that I had too vivid an imagination, and that I had just made all of that stuff up. That was when things I had seen started coming to other people—folks who had no idea about the regression we had done that evening, and no idea that things had been coming to me. I had, though, been keeping notes for myself.
One thing led to another, and soon I scheduled a second regression session. It was then that I discovered Lucinda’s name. After that session I had a solid three weeks of new information coming to me—all day, every day.
Another trend started around that time, too—people around me spontaneously receiving information about Lucinda, others in her life, or specific events from her lifetime. In every case the information people brought to me through these spontaneous sessions was already in my notes—except one detail of some sort. Each time these people were presenting me with verification by telling me of things they could in no other way know, and then gave me a tidbit that I didn’t yet have.
This activity continued until I began writing—almost a year later! It was a breathtaking year for me! After I completed the third draft of the book, I went back to my friend and scheduled a third regression session—I wanted to get clarification on some things and was seeking some additional details. That session set a record for our friend’s practice—I was hypnotized longer in one sitting than anyone he had ever worked with before. That evening’s regression was over an hour-and-a-half long! (The entire session lasted for more than two hours.)
And, by the way, there were observers present at each one of my hypnotic sessions. We attempted to record the second session, but the quality of the recording was terrible. I did get a pretty good recording of the third session, though, but it was lost when my digital recorder’s erase button was accidentally pressed before I could transfer the recording to my computer.
But, wait a minute! If the story came about as a result of hypnosis, and since it all felt so real all the way along, why is this written as fiction—as a novel?
My intention, at the beginning, was to write this as a true story. I knew that to do that, I would have to prove a lot of things. And, actually, many of the things I saw and felt during that time have proven to be actual and accurate from the time periods involved. However, proving Lucinda’s existence—via official documentation– has been a rather daunting task.
When you read the entire book it will become evident why there is virtually no trace of Lucinda in existence—at least nothing that I have the resources to locate. That coupled with the fact that I never have been given a direct answer regarding her true surname—several have come to mind, but research has indicated that those names do not, or did not during that time, exist on record in the United States. I have been led to believe that this was presented to me this way intentionally—that this was supposed to be a work of fiction all along.
Though I can find no immigration, birth, marriage or death records of Lucinda herself (and all of those things make sense, given the times and circumstances of her life) I have received many things confirming accuracy of the information that came to me. For example, there were several specific dates for which I had seen the weather conditions during her lifetime. When I researched historical weather data, every one of them proved to be correct—and many of those specific days displayed different weather conditions than the days around it. There were a great many confirmations, but still not enough to warrant the work being put forth as factual.
One other point still begs consideration. Though this has been presented to me in such a way as to suggest to me that Lucinda was my own past life, I am keenly aware that this may not be so. I am cognizant of the possibility that this story was nothing more than my creative muse stirring inside me. And from a more metaphysical approach, it is also possible that I simply tapped into the collective unconscious (as Carl Jung termed it).
Knowing details of the times—particularly things like weather conditions—indicates more than mere coincidence. The change in my life since becoming aware of Lucinda is also evidence of something more spiritually oriented at work. That tips the scale towards the idea of her being my past life.
So, there you have it. The story began with a curiosity question of a friend, went through a year of information gathering, and then the writing. Three years later the editing has started again. Hopefully within the year we can announce that the publication of Lucinda: Mistress to the Mob is official. Thank you for your interest.